B’tselem, funded largely by leftist European organizations and governments and the far left New Israel Fund, was created in 1989 by Israeli leftist academics, journalist and politicians from Meretz and Labor. It’s stated goal is to “to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories and ensure that its government, which rules the Occupied Territories, protects the human rights of residents there and complies with its obligations under international law.”
In other words, in deed and in intent, B’tselem seeks to shame the Israeli government and public into ignoring the self-defense of the Jewish State.
According to the well-respected NGO-Monitor’s entry on B’tselem, the NGO “has faced serious criticism for its misrepresentations of international law, inaccurate research and skewed statistics,” and that it “accuses Israel of apartheid, perpetrating war crimes, beating and abusing Palestinians, demolition of Palestinian Arab houses as punishment and forced deportations.”
Sar-Shalom Jerbi, the director of Israel’s National Civilian Service Administration, informed B’tselem in mid-August that it could no longer avail itself of free labor in the form of Israelis who choose national service instead of enlisting in the Israel Defense Force. The reason he gave was the refusal by B’tselem to designate Hamas a terrorist organization and its activities denigrating the Israel Defense Force, especially during Operation Protective Edge.
One of the activities B’tselem engaged in during the summer of 2014 followed the kidnapping of the three teenage Israeli boys, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel. The far leftist NGO initiated a slick media campaign dubbed “Hitching a Ride,” which ridiculed Israel’s efforts to find the three boys who were abducted from a hitchhiking post near Allon Shvut, south of Jerusalem.
B’tselem’s campaign accused Israel of “cynically exploiting the deep concern for the abducted teens,” and using it to “implement sweeping actions which intensify harm to the human rights of Palestinians.”
Jerbi informed B’tselem that the NGO is a party to the international smear campaign against the IDF, which includes “gross incitement” against what he called the “most ethical military in the world,” and stripped the NGO of its certification as an “operating organization” for the NCSA.
According to the NCSA director, B’tselem’s incitement gives fodder and encouragement to Israel’s enemies throughout the world and also contributes to the rising tide of anti-Semitic attack against Jews.
That decision was appealed by B’tselem and on Tuesday, Sept. 30, Israel’s Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber rescinded Jerbi’s decision and reinstated B’tselem in the national service registry, according to Haaretz.
Zilber stated that Jerbi had failed to sufficiently prove that B’tselem “rejects Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state, incites to violence, terror or racism, or supports terrorism or armed struggle against Israel.” Those are the only grounds for delisting an organization of the right to receive national service volunteers.
The assistant attorney general also expressed concern that Jerbi’s action could open the door to politicization of the National Civilian Service Administration, which could then “use its authority to deny recognition only to certain groups, thereby imposing an economic and public price tag on them, only because of statements that are controversial on one side of the political spectrum.”
The director of the NCSA said he would honor Zilber’s decision. Concurrent with following this directive, Jerbi said he plans to explore other ways “to prevent the absurd situation in which the State of Israel,” via its provision of national service volunteers, “continues financing an organization that accused Israel Defense Forces soldiers and the State of Israel of committing war crimes during Operation Protective Edge and libeled it around the world.”
Lori Lowenthal Marcus